A Strong Spouse: What Not to Do
By Janel Breitenstein
So you married someone whose internal strength is … strength. They’re competent. Smart. Maybe fervent. Perhaps even unintentionally intimidating at times.
God formed this potentially beautiful aptitude. (Jesus’ powerful leadership changed everything.) How can you help your spouse use this strength for His honor?
For starters, don’t...
- just come out stronger. Your spouse needs someone honest, brave, and bold; someone worthy of partnership. But domination could land you in a contest of the wills.
Partner alongside. Not above. Not hanging back.
- leave your spouse out. In decision-making, treat them as the equal partner they are—particularly in an area of gifting. Let your spouse fly in an area of strength (without using it as an excuse for your passivity).
- shy away from humility because you “can’t afford to lose ground.” This isn’t about who’s top dog! Jesus was clear the greatest among us is the servant (Matthew 23:11).
Let greatness define itself by Jesus’ actions: the equivalent of washing feet (John 13:14). Be the first to wholeheartedly apologize. The first on kid-sickness duty. The first to hop up and serve company.
- fail to sharpen. Maybe competence played a substantial role in your attraction. But don’t be a puppy dog.
Lovingly confront when they’re too hard on the kids. Lacking emotional intelligence. Dominating conversation.
Keep pace with who he or she is becoming. Dig into the Word; seize opportunities to mature together.
- capitulate when your spouse is passionate. Loving does not equal whipped. My husband laughs when he says this, but it’s accurate: “I’m not taking your side because it’s yours. I take the side of truth!”
Sometimes it’s more important to serve our spouses than for our version of “right” to triumph.
Yet biblical truth should consistently win. Not the most powerful personality. Not the most articulate opponent. And not the most manipulative one.
You possess one of the most intimate views to your spouse’s weaknesses and strengths. If you fail to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15), what could the fallout entail in your family or community?
The Good Stuff: Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. (Hebrews 12:12-14)
Action points: Of the ideas above, which do you see yourself leaning toward in interactions with your spouse? What motivations push you in that direction? Ask God for courage and love to do what’s best for your strong spouse.
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